Red Bull duo collect awards, as Vettel sticks to his guns
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Apr 2012   |  9:35 pm GMT  |  117 comments

Adrian Newey, Formula 1’s foremost designer of the past two decades, was recognised on a national scale this week when he collected his OBE from the Queen at Windsor Castle.

Red Bull Racing’s chief technical officer was recognised for his services to motorsport during a career that has seen him design multiple championship-winning cars for Williams, McLaren and now his current team. Newey had been honoured in the same New Years Honours List as Nigel Mansell – who took the designer’s Williams FW14B to the 1992 drivers’ title – the 31-time grand prix winner having received a CBE for his role as president of the young people’s charity UK Youth. The 58-year-old joined current F1 team owners Ron Dennis, Tony Fernandes and Sir Frank Williams in having received that particular honour.

Newey hasn’t been the only key Red Bull figure picking up an award, however, as world champion Sebastian Vettel was in Paris to collect a prestigious prize from the French Academy of Sports for the most outstanding sporting achievement of 2011. Awards to the best sports people in France and beyond have been handed out by the body since 1911 and past F1 winners have included Juan Manuel Fangio (1957), Jim Clark (1965), Jackie Stewart (1973), Niki Lauda (1977), Alain Prost (1989) and Michael Schumacher (2001). FIA president Jean Todt was also in attendance at Monday’s ceremony

During his appearance in France, Vettel also spoke for the first time in public since his outburst against Narain Karthikeyan at Sepang in the aftermath of the puncture that dropped him out of fourth place late on. Although his use of the word ‘idiot’ in relation to the HRT driver in his post-race interview with the BBC prompted a wave of headlines, which were followed by ones for Karthikeyan’s forthright response, Vettel believes he has nothing to regret.

“To lose a solid fourth place in the points, that is naturally disappointing,” he was quoted as saying by Sport Bild. “Sometimes you let the emotion show and I don’t think someone should be ashamed about that. This is part of the sport.” Vettel’s outburst was unsurprisingly played down by his team principal Christian Horner in recent days, with the world champion team’s overrding concern in the break between races undoubtedly working out how to get more performance out of the RB8 for China, particularly in the team’s previous stronghold of qualifying.

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Irrespective of whether Vettel or Karthikeyan was at fault for the incident (personally I feel it’s a racing incident), there is still a proper way to conduct yourself when these things happen. To give some examples, I saw two accidents in the final race of the Ginetta SuperCup at Brands Hatch, both triggered by driver mistakes and one ending in a particularly nasty shunt for one driver. In the nastier of the two, the driver who triggered the accident was full of contrition and the other drivers involved regarded it as a racing incident without mud-slinging. In contrast, the lesser incident saw handbags at dawn and the drivers being physically separated by the marshals. Unfortunately Vettel’s response showed more of the latter than the former, and much as I can understand his frustration and the emotions at play that isn’t good enough. You can express your personality without flying off the handle at your competitors, after all.


The teams of Formula 1 and by extension, all their employees, make their money by being public faces. By waving a phallic gesture in the field and later labelling his opponent, Vettel engaged in the basest violations of modern sports culture.

By no mean is this boorish behavior rare in sports, but often, the culprit gets a yellow card or some form of sanction. However, both FIA and RBR saw no reason for punishment nor regret. Soon, the mild raising hand and shaking fist in the cockpit will be a thing of the past, drivers can bare their bottoms, rock their pelvic, and insult mothers.

When a child does this, he goes to stand in the corner, when a 24 yr old ‘child’ does this, he gets mollycuddled. Disgusting!


I’m still waiting, and I’m an awesome student 😀


Whoops, that was meant for way up thread :S


We certainly live in an age of overreaction.

Vettel is not cracking under the pressure because he’s angry he lost 4th place points due to a backmarker’s mistake. He is not the first driver to take another driver to task, and he certainly won’t be the last. He’s not a spoiled child all of a sudden because he’s not currently in the best car on the grid. He’s not someone who says “It’s never my fault” (see SPA 2010). These are the overreactions of people who didn’t like Vettel in the first place for whatever reason. Nothing wrong with not liking a particular driver… but there’s nothing I’ve seen this year from Sebastian to make me believe that he’s any different than the past few years.

I often find myself defending Vettel, but labeling me a Vettel fan would be incorrect. Being an American, I don’t really have anything nationalistically to root for, so I’m a fan of Formula 1. I like Lewis’ aggressive driving behind the wheel, I like Jensen’s calculated approach, I like Fernando’s incredible skill, I root for Massa and Williams to return to form, I root for Michael to make it to the podium, I root for Peter Sauber to cry after making the podium, I root for Kimi because…. well, he’s Kimi! And I certainly root for any Driver like Vettel who shows tremendous talent on the track and actually let you into their head during interviews… both when they’re doing well and when they’ve had a bad race. It’s been said many times before: We want personalities in the sport, but once Hamilton gets frustrated with the stewards, or Vettel is upset at a backmarker, or Fernando no longer sees F1 as a sport, we’re quick to jump on them.

BTW, I think generally… 3 years on, bubbling underneath most drivers and teams, there’s a great distain for the last 3 outfits on the grid. Off the record, how many drivers and team personnel would really say that they’re happy to have to contend with teams so off the pace during qualifying and race day?


Gene well spoken mate I agree wholeheartedly with your comments these guys are starting to sound like that other site Planet F1 god forbid


Hi Gene.

With regards to you mentioning Spa 2010, it would’ve been foolish for Vettel not to put his hands up. There was noone around. He just lost control and hit JB. I don’t think that is a good example to say that Vettel does take the blame for when he’s at fault.

Anyway, I think is now time to move away from this subject. There’s less than a week and the action is back on the track. Can’t wait!


What on earth does Adrian Newey have to do to earn a knighthood? Can there be a greater role-model for engineers anywhere in the world?

Meanwhile bankers and political party donors get them by the dozen…


Has the photo been squashed to fit, or is Adrian Newey’s head really that flat?

(Serious question)


Expecting F1 drivers to be “nice guys” or judging them to be nice or not through media and perceived behavior on track/TV is very, very silly.


Glad Adrian got an OBE – tho’ he deserves more.

But where is Ron’s knighthood?


Vettel has shown his true colours on this one. He did contribute significantly to the accident, and if he can’t accept that to himself, then he’ll have a problem again. To then be offensive about a fellow driver in a much worse car, and not retract after consideration does show an unpleasant personality trait.


I don’t think you can blame him for the collision with Karthikeyan. It’s quite clear that the backmarker does not hold his line


I don’t know how many times James has pointed out to you guys that karthikeyan did not hold his line that was why he was penalised. Of course he was annoyed it cost him 4th place. If it had happened to Lewis would you all be reading from same sheet, I wonder.


All rewards deserved I say. Don’t be to harsh on SV guys, he’s a great driver who’s struggling a little for the first time in a few years. He’s young and a little frustrated,and we’ve all been there, taking the rough with the smooth gets easier with age and experiance.

It’s worth noting, non of the great drivers in history are happy when they are not winning, and that’s one of the things that makes them so good!!!


People give Vettel a hard time, but they forget how young he is. In the heat of the moment at 24 years old can we honestly say we wouldn’t have said something similar?

Comparisions with Button are unfair has he has over a decade of experience and is much more mature.

Interesting Stat:

The top 5 pole sitters Schumi, Senna, Clark, Prost and Mansell were yet to be on pole at Vettel’s age.

Vettel currently has 30 poles.


Well done to Adrian. He will be remembered with the legends of the sport in the same bracket as Enzo Ferrari and Colin Chapman in my opinion.

Mansell more than deserves his CBE. The work he does for UK Youth is incredible. Long term he will be Sir Nigel for sure.


As you have reported, James, Vettel didn’t call Karthikeyan “an idiot,” he called him (in German, of course) “a cucumber.” I humbly suggest that only a native speaker of the German language, and certainly not a posse of bloodthirsty English-speaking tabloid hacks, is capable of appreciating the nuances of that particular insult, just as only an English speaker would know the difference between (say) a “plank” or a “bumbler.”

Just a thought …


He did called him an idiot. He said something like “like on normal road there are idiots driving around and it looks that there’s one here al well”.

Check it out on the BBC website.


He did call him an idiot but on the BBC feed. The interview is still on the BBC site believe.


Thanks to Anil for setting me right. It’ll teach me to check my sources more rigorously.


Thanks for that


I seem to remember Vettel ramming Mark Webber when following a safety car. Vettel was driving the Torro Rosso at the time and possibly robbed Mark Webber of a win for Red Bull. I think that would qualify Vettel for the Idiot award. I can’t understand how Karthikehan was penalised and yet Vettel wasn’t. Vettel also crahsed into Mark Webber when red Bull were runining 1st and 2nd and took himself out of the race. Webber finished 3rd but Vettel got no points and cost red Bull a lot of constuctors points as well. Not very smart but there was no penalty. Looks like Webber can cope with things when they go wrong but Vettel throws his toys out of the pram.


Lewis Hamilton was in control of that race at Fuji, so Mark wouldn’t have won. Footage also showed that Hamilton’s driving under the safety car contributed (not caused entirely) the collision, which meant that Vettel got a 5 place grid penalty rather than 10.


Excuse me, Webber can cope with things when they go wrong, and Vettel throws his toys out of the pram? Do you remember how he collapsed at the end of the 2010 season, with a terrible drive in Abu Dhabi and a crash in Korea that took out Rosberg? Meanwhile Vettel put the Belgium weekend behind him and won 3 out of the final 4 races (only being denied the other one by engine failure).


He had another out of car accident!! Badly injured shoulder if I remember correctly – can’t remember if it was fractured!! That might explain part of the reason – the other possibly being the team!!!


His shoulder was hardly injured throughout the 2011 season though, was it?


Love to know why its deemed petulant poor behavior if Hamilton shows a hint of frustration but is an acceptable demonstration of passion if Vettel does the same. Lets remember Hamilton has also had to wring the neck of inferior cars for the last three seasons whereas last year was a cruise for RB


“Wringing the neck of inferior cars” has nothing to do with the situation. And Vettel cruised to a lot of his race wins because Hamilton (and to a smaller extent Button) plainly underperformed in comparison


Inferior cars to the Red Bull for the last two and a half years, no doubt.


Yes, but what I was referring to was how the Mclaren of last year was in all likelihood closer than their drivers showed. You had qualifying sessions like for instance, Suzuka, Yas Marina and Hungaroring where thew Mclarens made mistakes that effectively threw away pole position. Then there were races where Mclaren had very strong race pace, but didn’t even challenge Vettel, like in Sepang, Spa and Monza.

There’s no use complaining that their car was inferior when they could have closed the gap further than they actually did.


Good that Newey has been recognised for his design skills. – Never has it been more evident than in 2011 with Red Bull! Vettel is typically German, reluctant to admit it was his fault in the past, and reluctant to admit it was partially his own fault now. A leopard does not change his spots, they just become slightly disguised until emotions get involved.


Forgot to say congrats to our Aide and our Noige, very well deserved and overdue.


He still seems to think that everyone should give way for him. (Who does he think he is? Schumacher?) he was not lapping but attempting to overtake. His attitude makes one think of the Secret Diary of Adrian Newey, is Marlene right? (No link you can find it for yourselves)


I assume you were kidding since Narain was supposed to give way as he was being lapped.


Marlene is of course now Jana, she changed her name. No it wont make sense until you read the Diary.


James, was Adrian Newey responsible for the design of the Leyton House in 1990? One of my early F1 memories was seeing Ivan Capelli come so close to winning a GP that year.


Yes, that was France 1990, and the CG901 was indeed a Newey design. Very tidy car (and a great race).


I have to agree with the comments here about Vettel. He has a tendency to blame anyone else but himself. After running into Webber in Turkey in 2010 I was amazed at his attitude walking off the track gesturing that Webber was the stupid one. It has been illustrated over the years that balls of steel and a little aggression on the track can give winning results but fans like a racer that will admit when he has taken it too far which Vettel is just unable to do. I am becoming tired of hearing what a “lovely guy” he is from pitlane reporters such as Martin Brundle. He is arrogant but covers it up well most of the time. To be a truely great champion doesn’t just take winning the championship.


Amen to that. Amen to that.


Whilst I don’t like bad sportsmanship, to be honest, I love a good spat in sport. Handbags at dawn, cat fights, wars of words, all of them. It adds a flavour of drama to things which just appeals to our more animalistic side. Senna vs Prost. Alonso vs Hamilton. Schumacher vs everyone (first incarnation, that is). I loved them.

What I really hate is the way all the talking heads/commentators/writers/hacks will pounce all over Lewis Hamilton for as little as frowning on a podium (but keeping his mouth shut), and simply ‘report’ what happened when it comes to Vettel and his finger, his words, and his unrepentance. They’ll tell you what happened but they won’t pass judgement on him. Heaven forbid!

I’ve heard a lot about what happened but doesn’t anyone at #BBCF1 want to decry or lambast Vettel for what he did? Fine, how about you say something then about how Webber is getting in his head and really screwing with him, driving Vettel to meltdown. Or that he’s scared of Button and Hamilton? How about a running total of all the incidents and crashes he has been involved in over recent seasons, and the witherto and wherefore of why each incident happened, and then a summary judgement on him for being either a crash kid, or unlucky?

No? Thought not.

clifford Jones

You’ve got a point mate


What a difference a few months makes !

Red Bull no longer dominant, the new bright star acting like a spoiled child, crashing into a backmarker then continuing to try and blame the backmarker…. and Babyface Horner reduced from slyly downplaying his team’s utter dominance to making desperate protests in order to spy on his rivals superior technology.

Red Bull and SV have shown their Ugly Face.

Webber has shown how a driver can go from Chump to Champ, depending on the vagaries of the tyres and his driving style.


I have got to think theres more to Webber being better this season than the tyres and driving style the tyres are still not meant to suit him compared to 2010 no?

Maybe it’s all confidence and his has returned and obviously I have no proof so complete conjecture but I would put money on different maps being given to both drivers last year and thats what made Vettel the stand out guy between the two.

Webber would of won the title in 2010 if he had gotten the support Vettel received at Red Bull and I won’t forget that.

Like others on here the Red Bull brand is being really tarnished by the way they conduct themselves in F1 for me at least anyway. I guess tho that its the wider public that they are targeting that will only hear and see Red Bull champions and not how they went about it.


In 2010, Mark Webber had every chance to win the title, yet despite having a teammate that had the vast majority of the technical failures and bad luck, Webber lost it. That’s because he made errors like Vettel did (crashing in Korea, hitting Lewis in Australia, hitting Heikki in Valencia) and had poor races (Abu Dhabi, Bahrain), which lost himself the title.

All that happened in 2011 was that Vettel made a few less errors, and didn’t have the car break down while he was leading comfortably. You know, like Australia 2010, Bahrain 2010 and Korea 2010.


In a sport where tenths of a second mean everything, I believe Sebastian Vettel will get ample opportunity to reflect on his outburst and attitude – he will find himself staring at the back of an HRT 5 or 6 times a race for the rest of the season.

Vettel’s wet-nurse needs to lay off the Red Bull for a while perhaps.


Vettel’s behaviour was so different to Jenson’s gracious and sportsmanlike manner – a true gentleman he is at all times. Go Jenson! – and prove that “nice guys” can win …


My opinion on his actual level of ability aside, well done on the award Seb, it’s always good for the sport to be recognised. I don’t think the awards show would really be the place for him to go into detail about the incident, or be properly criticized for his reaction; hopefully between two TV crews in China there will be one pundit brave enough to take him to task on it.

Congratulations to Newey and Mansell as well, two fully deserving national sporting heroes.

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